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'Hallelujah'! LANCO Debuts at No. 1 On Top Country Albums Chart
Meanwhile, Scotty McCreery is back in the top 10 for the first time since 2014
Hallelujah Nights (Arista Nashville/Sony Music Nashville), the first full-length studio album from LANCO, soars in at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart dated Feb. 3.
In its first week (ending Jan. 25), the set earned 19,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 13,000 are via traditional album sales. On the all-genre Billboard 200, the 11-track album (which was produced by Jay Joyce), starts at No. 20.
"It's a surreal feeling for us that the wait is over and our first record is out," frontman Brandon Lancaster tells Billboard. "We've always believed in the power of country music storytelling. We aimed to do that on every track of Hallelujah Nights. Our stories have different people, different names, different places, but they all have the same emotions attached to them. It's not fantasy-related. To me, this album is about glorifying the reality of life."
LANCO's No. 1 launch on Top Country Albums marks the first for a debut set by a group of three members or more since the chart dated Sept. 10, 2011, when all-female trio Pistol Annies' first album, Hell on Heels, -arrived in the penthouse with 44,000 sold. Of course, that threesome featured Miranda Lambert -- an established star -- plus Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley.
The last time that a new group without any -format-entrenched members entered at No. 1 with a first set? Almost 10 years ago, on May 3, 2008, Lady Antebellum's self-titled debut album bowed at the summit (43,000 sold).
LANCO -- comprising Lancaster, Chandler Baldwin, Jared Hampton, Eric Steedly and Tripp Howell -- first released a four-song EP, aptly titled Extended Play, which debuted at No. 49 on the Top Country Albums chart dated Sept. 23, 2017 (3,000 units). It peaked at No. 25 on Nov. 18, 2017.
Hallelujah Nights has produced three singles. "Long Live Tonight" peaked at No. 32 on Country Airplay (Oct. 1, 2016) and No. 46 on Hot Country Songs (Nov. 12, 2016). "Greatest Love Story" topped Country Airplay (for two weeks, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, 2017) and Hot Country Songs (for one, Dec. 9). New third single "Born to Love You" begins at No. 48 on Hot Country Songs.
SADDLE UP: Singer-songwriter Devin Dawson's debut set, Dark Horse (Atlantic/Warner Music Nashville), gallops in at No. 5 on Top Country Albums with 11,000 units (7,000 in pure sales).
The title should ring a bell for both the Woodstock generation and millennials. Most recently, Katy Perry's "Dark Horse," featuring Juicy J, topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in 2014. For aging hippies, Dark Horse recalls George Harrison's 1974 album, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
"I don't care that it's a George Harrison song; I don't care that it's a Katy Perry song. We're going to do it in our own way," Dawson recently told Billboard.
NEW TOP 10s: Meanwhile, "All on Me," Devin Dawson's initial single from Dark Horse, reaches the Country Airplay top 10, marking the 28-year-old Orangevale, Calif., native's first such entry on the tally. In its 35th week on the chart, "All" rises 13-10, gaining by 12 percent to 23.1 million audience impressions. On Hot Country Songs, it romps 18-13, also hitting a new high.
Thomas Rhett's "Marry Me" (Valory) bumps 11-9 on Country Airplay, advancing 14 percent to 26.4 million. He posts his 11th top 10 on the chart.
On Hot Country Songs, which blends streaming, airplay and sales, Scotty McCreery notches his second top 10 as "Five More Minutes" (Triple Tigers) darts 14-10. McCreery previously reached the region in 2014 with the No. 10-peaking "See You Tonight." "Minutes" surges by 82 percent to 5.4 million U.S. clicks and 17 percent to 10,000 downloads sold while lifting 10-8 on Country Airplay (26.4 million, up 12 percent). Ahead of the March 16 release of his full-length Seasons Change, McCreery is offering pre-order bundles of the project on his website, including autographed CDs.